Placing Hot Cross Buns and chocolate eggs on the shelves in December (even in January & February) takes the unique & special feeling out of the celebration. Easter, like Christmas has all ready had its religious significance diminished for some of us even removed, for me the tradition is more about spending time with family. How many of us actually know someone observing lent? Now, not only are we not observing the many of the tradtions we can indulge in those that we do for three month before hand! What to we have to look forward to?
Innovation can be a wonderful thing & I have sung the praises of industry innovators in a previous blog. However, like cover versions of hit songs I believe the innovation has to at least equal too if not surpassed by the original to be worthy. The recent trend of chocolate hot cross buns has managed to take hold despite been far from a worthy cover version of the original.
I love a light yeasty bun, which is generously spiced and packed with fruit (peel optional) – this is the style I grew up with. There is no right or wrong here just a preference- many people like a heavy (almost bready dough) to support lots of fruit and spice; it is a matter of taste.
Do you like the chocolate buns? Do you buy them in January?
Here is the recipe for the Easter buns which make my heart sing... as long as you don’t break it out in January!
HOT CROSS BUNS
Ingredients – makes 1.5kg of dough (approx 30 x 55g buns)
Use of mixer with a dough hook highly recommended due to the amount of required kneading
Zest of ½ a lemon
75g yeast (fresh)
74ml orange juice
Spice for Dough
30g mixed dutch spice
40g melted butter
200g plain flour
100g self raising flour
15g gelatine soaked in 250ml of water
Bring to the boil.....
Juice & Zest of a lemon
Juice & Zest of an orange
2 cinnamon sticks
Add the gelatine & water it is soaking in to the boiled mixture, return to the boil and it is ready to use.
Soak Sultana’s & Currants in the orange juice over night.
Take the temperature of the flour and note it down.
Combine all the ingredients (except the yeast, water, fruit & spice)
Dissolve the yeast in the water-
The temperature of the water should be 60°C MINUS the temperature of the flour (so if the flour is 24°C then the water should be 36°C) If it is too hot you will kill the yeast.
And add to the other ingredients and mix until the dough is “clear”- meaning it doesn’t stick to the dough hook, sides or bottom of the bowl
Add the fruit and carefully incorporate into the dough. When the fruit has been incorporated you can finally add the spice-
Do not mix very much once the spice is in as it will kill the yeast
Do not be tempted to add spice at the start as it will kill the yeastLeave the dough to rest covered and at room temperature (not warm & not cool) until it stars to rise (approx 30-40mins)
Cut in to 55g size pieces (or to the size you want) and roll into shape, place in straight lines (makes piping the crosses much easier) on baking trays
Leave to stand in a warm place until they are at least double their size, then pipe crosses on top using a piping bag.
Bake in a hot (210°C - 220°C) oven until cooked – approx 20-25minutes
Remove from oven and brush with spiced wash